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ISLAMABAD: Climate change poses severe threats and demands decisive actions for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener and sustainable living and harmony with nature.

This was the crux of roundtable conference on World Environment Day (WED). The United Nations General Assembly had declared June 5, to be WED in 1972. In the following years, WED has developed as a platform to raise awareness about the problems faced by the environment such as air pollution, plastic pollution, illegal wildlife trade, sustainable consumption, sea-level increase and food security among others.

It is now the largest global environmental event in which 150 countries and their millions of people are participating. The core idea behind WED is to engage “governments, businesses, civil society, schools, celebrities, cities and communities in awareness and celebrating environmental action”.

This year the theme of World Environment Day is “Only One Earth” which calls for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener and sustainable living in harmony with nature.

Khan Faraz an environmental expert said that climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts from droughts to floods to rising seas. Also, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at top of the list.

He further said that the rapidly shifting weather patterns and disrupting agricultural activities everywhere while crops yields are facing growing threats from floods, reduction in water supplies and pests. The increase in pollution is affecting everyone health.

He said Pakistan has been hit particularly hard by these factors, not only the country is facing extreme weather conditions in every corner, but the alarming decline in air quality and the emergence of smog in urban centers have also made life difficult for the residents. In several cities including Karachi and Lahore, the Air Quality Index (AQI) reading, released by the global environmental forum IQAir, persistently stays above the unhealthy range, Faraz added.

He further said Pakistan is one of the top ten countries in the world vulnerable to climate change. The country has witnessed unprecedented rise in temperatures and several incidents of climate catastrophe including the collapse of Hassanabad Bridge in Gilgit-Baltistan, wildfires in Balochistan and severe heat waves in rural areas of Sindh province. Winters have shrunk and summers are getting longer and hotter. Floods and drought in rural areas have badly affected the agricultural production. These disasters also claimed the lives of many people, indicating to further calamities in future.

The World Environment Day calls for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener and sustainable living and harmony with nature. To protect our planet, and all life forms it hosts, we need urgent and collective action, Faraz added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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